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February 25, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 25th

Bonnies cleared to play in A-10 tournament: The Atlantic 10 presidents voted Tuesday to allow St. Bonaventure to compete in the conference tournament. The NCAA put the Bonnies on three years probation and prohibited it from competing in postseason action this year as punishment for last year’s player eligibility scandal. The Atlantic 10 amended its conference rules, allowing the runner up to get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament if St. Bonaventure were to win the tournament. While it is unlikely that the Bonnies will win the tournament, it is a classy move by the conference to allow the Bonnies to participate. After all, that is all they have to play for this year.

Big East suit dismissed: For the third time in four months, the Big East has defeated the ACC in court. A Connecticut judge has dismissed all claims against the ACC, its commissioner and all officers in a lawsuit filed by four Big East schools over the ACC’s expansion. A lawyer for the Big East schools said there will be an appeal.

Missouri edges OSU in double overtime: Two Arthur Johnson free throws sealed a much-needed 93-92 overtime victory against Oklahoma State Tuesday night. The game was hotly contested as Missouri was fighting for its NCAA life and OSU was fighting for a Big 12 championship. Ricky Paulding poured in 31 points in the win, which pushed the Tigers into fourth place in the Big 12 and revitalized its NCAA hopes. John Lucas scored 30 for the Cowboys in the loss.

Pitt survives scare: The Pittsburgh Panthers received a major scare Tuesday night as the Georgetown Hoyas gave the Panthers quite a contest in a 68-58 Panthers victory. Pittsburgh rallied from an eight-point deficit on the road, using a game-breaking 19-0 second half run to survive on the road in the Big East. The Panthers were led by Carl Krauser, who scored 19 of his career-best 26 points in the second half. Gerald Riley led Georgetown with 25 points.

Virginia stuns North Carolina: For the third time in four weeks, Virginia’s Todd Billet hit a crucial three-point field goal for the Cavaliers. On Tuesday night, the shot went in with just 13 seconds left on the clock to help Virginia upset North Carolina, 74-72. Hundreds of students rushed the court as North Carolina’s Raymond Felton was unable to sink a half-court heave. The win moved the Cavaliers to 15-10 on the season. The loss dropped the Tarheels to below .500 in the ACC at 6-7.

Nebraska routs Texas Tech: Bob Knight hasn’t seen many nights like these. Nebraska’s Nate Johnson poured in 17 points as the Cornhuskers handed the Red Raiders its worst loss in nearly two years, 72-44. Texas Tech shot a woeful 18.5 percent in the second half as it dropped its fifth straight road game and its sixth game in nine contests. On the bright side, Texas Tech’s Andre Emmett became the school’s all-time scoring leader, passing Rick Bullock. Nebraska shot 47 percent for the game and put three players in double figures.

Providence deals Notre Dame a crucial blow: Notre Dame is desperately trying to make the NCAA tournament. It had a great opportunity to add a big win to its resume when it hosted Providence. But the Friars ruined that chance for the Fighting Irish, prevailing 73-59. Providence was led by its 2-3 zone defense, of which Notre Dame had no answer for. The Fighting Irish shot a woeful 31 percent in the loss. Providence went to a familiar face on offense, feeding Ryan Gomes, who finished with a game-high 25 points. Could Providence be this year’s Syracuse? A 2-3 zone team from the Big East, likely to get a three seed, who features a player that can beat you inside and out?

Southern Illinois records 15th straight: The Salukis are turning into the mid-major story of the year. Led by first-year head coach Matt Painter, Southern has done nothing but win this season. On Tuesday night, they did just that, disposing of previous MVC darling Creighton, 68-60. The Salukis were led by Darren Brooks’ 14 points. Southern Illinois has already clinched the conference title and is two wins away from the school’s first undefeated conference season.

UConn rolls: St. John’s has had a forgettable season and it certainly had a forgettable Tuesday night. The UConn Huskies dominated St. John’s from start to finish, winning 71-53. Emeka Okafor shined in the mismatch, recording 22 points and 18 rebounds.

Michigan State rallies to defeat Michigan: It was a game Michigan had to have to buoy its NCAA hopes. But it was also a game MSU needed to potentially win the Big Ten title. And it was the Spartans that outlasted its in-state rivals. Michigan built a 12-point lead, only to watch it diminish because of turnovers and poor shot selection. The Spartans took advantage, turning to Kelvin Torbert, who scored 18 points in the Spartans’ 72-69 comeback victory.

Tonight’s Menu

• N.C. State and Georgia Tech highlights a slate that also has Illinois traveling to Iowa and St. Joe’s chasing perfection at Massachusetts.

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